Can I reward patients for referrals?
Can we have contests or give aways for patient’s who refer?
Can we Reward staff for referring or asking for referrals?

The answer is…
NONo- Yes thumbs
According to the Runner Law:

A health care provider shall not financially compensate in any manner a person, firm, or corporation for recommending or securing the health care provider’s employment by a patient, or as a reward for having made a recommendation resulting in the health care provider’s employment by a patient or health care provider.

The good news is that most patients will not refer people to you because you will reward them, they refer people to you because you went above and beyond their expectations. Like a bank account you need to make a deposit, service with a smile, to make a withdrawal, a referral.

Instead of looking for a reward system for the referral, focus on customer service and WOWing the patient.

Here’s a few easy things you can do to go above and beyond:

• Include a full size tube of toothpaste in goodie bag.
• Put a fun treat in the goodie bag when they’re leaving, like candy or gift card.
• Offer an extra goodie bag from your office to pass along to a friend.
• Have the doctor make personal care calls after hours to check in on patients.
• Serve refreshments in the reception area.
• Show the staff and office activities on digital frames or TVs that allow patients to connect with the team they are going to be interacting with.
• Create a Dental App to make it easy to connect with your office and refer.
• Have an after hours cell phone to take calls.
• Give them a sports drink bottle or mug with the office logo.
The biggest reasons patients do not refer is they are never asked. If the patient compliments you, or when they’re walking out, simply say, “We really appreciate you choosing us as your dental care provider, we know you have many choices. Here are a few of our cards to give to any of your friends or family you feel we can care for.” Invite them to post about the visit on social media or review you on websites like Yelp or Google. The best form of marketing is to simply ask.

Promotions and give aways will never have an impact if you do not have the right staff with the right stuff when it comes to customer service and care.

Remember, it costs you nothing to have a smiling, friendly, polite and attentive staff. But it will cost you everything if you do not.

You need to treat every patient like they are your only patient, or they will be.

Kelly Schwartz
Below is a copy of the Runners Law:

G.S 90-401. Referral fees and payment for certain solicitations for prohibited.
A health care provider shall not financially compensate in any manner a person, firm, or corporation for recommending or securing the health care provider’s employment by a patient, or as a reward for having made a recommendation resulting in the health care provider’s employment by a patient. No health care provider to another health care provider shall receive financial or other compensation from the health care provider receiving the payment solely primarily for the referral. This section shall not be constructed to prohibit a health care provider’s purchase of advertising which does not entail direct personal contact or telephone contact of a potential patient. (1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992). c.858,s. 1: 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 689, s. 2.)

“Runner” means a person who, for a pecuniary benefit, procures or attempts to procure a client, patient or customer at the direction of, request of or in cooperation with a provider whose purpose is to seek to obtain benefits under a contract of insurance or assert a claim against an insured or an insurance carrier for providing services to the client, patient or customer. ‘Runner” shall not include a person who procures or attempts to procure clients, patients or customers for a provider through public media or a person who refers clients, patients or customers to a provider as otherwise authorized by law.
b. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if that person knowingly acts as a runner or uses, solicits, directs, hires or employs another to act as a runner.